Reintegration Assistance to Separated Defence Personnel in the Republic of Croatia- Phase II
In 2002, Croatian Ministry of Defense (MoD) announced that it would reduce its personnel – both civilian and military - by 12,000 between 2003 and 2006, which was followed by Government’s adoption of the “Separated Personnel Care and Transition Programme” (SPECTRA). Concerned with ensuring that its former-soldiers reintegrate smoothly into the civilian life through gainful employment or self-employment, and fully aware of IOM’s experience in similar reintegration exercises in the region, MoD’s SPECTRA Team approached IOM with a request for assistance in late 2002.
This led to high level talks between the Croatian Defence Ministry and the IOM Director General, followed by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the MoD and the IOM Mission in Croatia and ultimately to the joint development of a project proposal entitled ‘Reintegration Assistance to Separated Defence Personnel’ (RASDP) recommending targeted reintegration activities over a three year period for 3,000 redundant defence personnel whose homes lie within the ASSI.
The RASDP project through generous financial support from the Norwegian government, co-funding from the Dutch government as well as in-kind support from the Croatian MoD was effectively operational since April 2004 and was implemented in close cooperation with SPECTRA.
This second phase of the project phase aimed to target additional 500 (out of 3,000) personnel identified for separation by the Croatian Ministry of Defence in 2007. These 500 personnel were identified as those most in need of reintegration support as they originate from the so-called Areas of Special State Interest (ASSI) and other economically depressed regions of Croatia, having been directly affected by the war.
By supporting the reintegration of up to 500 separated personnel of the Croatian Ministry of the Defence, the project contributed to enhancing Croatia’s socio-economic development and democratization, and helped to strengthen Croatia’s role as a pillar of stability within the Western Balkans.
The assistance programme was built upon the previous 3-year experience in implementation, established infrastructure and procedures and be tailored to the specific needs and skills of each individual. It followed IOM’s expertise and methodology in carrying out similar programs in the region.
The project was implemented from 1st January – 31 December 2007 and was worth USD 1,869,441.